Klay's recent dominance credited to 1-on-1 chat with Fraser


While the NBA world was swept away by Mac McClung’s high-flying dunk-contest performance at All-Star Weekend, Warriors guard Klay Thompson used the eight-day break as an opportunity to refresh and refocus.

A conversation he had with Warriors assistant coach Bruce “Q” Fraser over that break shifted Thompson’s attention to another r-word: rebounding. Since then, the four-time NBA champion has made it a focus to grab more boards during the final stretch of the season.

“I give Q a lot of credit -- he and Klay spent some time together over the All-Star break and they had a great talk,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters after Thursday’s blowout win over the Los Angeles Clippers. “And I think Q really talked to him about how as you get older, you have to evolve. That’s just what great players do. You’ve got to figure out where you can get better. And as your body starts to go through the bumps and bruises and accumulation of all those years, you’ve got to make up for it with your brain.

“What can you do that can be another layer to your game? Rebounding and passing -- those are the two things for Klay. Can he create some shots for people? Can he really help us out on the glass? And he’s been doing both of those things.”

Thompson averaged 21.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in 46 games before the All-Star break. In five games after the break, he has averaged 27.6 points on 48.0 percent shooting from the field and 49.1 percent from 3-point range, along with 6.6 rebounds. He's already over his career rebounding average (3.5) this season.

The Warriors' latest game -- a 115-91 win over the Clippers -- brought Thompson's conversation with Fraser to light. The Splash Bro recorded just the fourth double-double of his career, finishing with 19 points and 11 rebounds, and in a season with a 50-piece and some 40-point showings, it was one of his better well-rounded performances.

It’s also something Kerr and the Warriors have needed from Thompson. His sharpshooting is a plus, of course, but even his teammates can appreciate the increase in aggressiveness.

“It’s huge,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said Thursday of Thompson’s latest efforts. “Everyone always talks about our size. And when you have wings rebounding the way that they’re rebounding, it doesn’t matter. Donte [DiVincenzo]’s been rebounding all year. Klay’s taking that next step, and he’s been doing it consistently since coming out of the All-Star break. I actually didn’t know about that conversation, so shout-out to Q because it’s been great.

“I think overall, Klay’s been playing great. And to rebound the ball the way he did tonight, he was all over the defensive glass. I know that helps us a lot, that helps spark transition. They shot 46 threes, there’s going to be long rebounds, they’re going to bounce to that elbow. If we got our guards there cleaning that up, that’s huge. And like I said, it ignites the break.”

As things come together for Thompson, they've also seem to come together for the Warriors. Golden State (33-30) is climbing up the standings in the loaded Western Conference and currently sits fifth, only one game behind the Phoenix Suns.

RELATED: Draymond, Kerr explain Dubs' unique strategy to defend Russ

The Warriors have managed to stay above .500 without their star player, Steph Curry, who has missed the last 10 games with a foot injury. That has a lot to do with Thompson.

"[He's] much more poised as of late," Kerr said. "Seems to be in a better frame of mind where he’s able to withstand a rough patch in the game or even a rough game, and not get too emotional about it, and he’s really been calmer and more poised, and I think that’s allowing him to be more consistent.

"But he’s been great now for a pretty good stretch."

The Warriors will look to extend that stretch for as long as possible with just 19 regular-season games remaining and playoff positioning on the line.

Download and follow the Dubs Talk Podcast

Contact Us